UK softball tops LSU, advances to SEC Tournament finals

May 9, 2014 

  • Friday

    Kentucky vs. Georgia

    What: SEC Tournament finals

    Where: Columbia, S.C.

    When: 8 p.m.

    TV: ESPN2

Tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning, Kentucky senior outfielder Ginny Carroll started a two-run, two-out rally to lift Kentucky to a 4-3 win over LSU on Friday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.

The win moved Kentucky (44-14) to the tournament finals, held in Columbia, S.C., for the first time in program history. The seventh-seeded Wildcats will face No. 5-seeded Georgia on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Georgia advanced to the championship game after a 5-3 win over top-seeded Alabama.

The Wildcat offense posted only two hits in the game, but both came in clutch situations. Kentucky scored first for the third consecutive game, getting two runs in the third inning on a hit, an LSU error and three walks.

The hit was a two-out, RBI single by senior infielder Krystal Smith to put UK up 2-0. Kentucky's first run in the inning came on a bases-loaded walk to junior catcher Griffin Joiner.

Sylver Samuel delivered the second — and biggest — hit of the game for Kentucky in the ninth inning.

With LSU freshman pitcher Baylee Corbello on a stretch of retiring 16 straight UK batters — including the first two she faced in the ninth inning — Carroll worked a walk.

Christian Stokes followed and reached base for the second time in the game after being hit by a pitch. That set the stage for Samuel, who batted a 1-1 pitch into the gap in left centerfield to score two runners and give UK a 4-2 lead.

For the third consecutive game, Kentucky turned to sophomore ace Kelsey Nunley in the circle. Nunley allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits with six strikeouts.

The Tennessee native has thrown 25 innings in three days and moved to 24-7 this season. With a 51-18 record in her two seasons at Kentucky, she ranks third all time in career wins at UK.

Nunley's six postseason wins are the most in school history.

Nunley limited LSU to one run heading to the bottom of the seventh inning when the Tigers rallied to tie and force extra innings.

The UK sophomore did not let the lead slip away again, throwing a scoreless eighth inning before a solo home run by Tammy Wray in the ninth was wrapped around a pair of groundouts and a strikeout to seal the Kentucky victory.

The win continued UK's program-best record after breaking the school record for wins Wednesday. UK's 44 wins this season are three better than the previous school record of 41, set last season.

The Wildcats have consecutive 40-win seasons for the first time in program history.

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